A military site at Lodge Hill near Chattenden has been earmarked for a major housing development. The wildlife groups will object to the outline planning application because of the threat to important wildlife. The proposal will have a damaging impact on the immediate environment and the neighbouring wood, which is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. For example, the site supports nationally important numbers of nightingales, a bird that has decreased by 60% in the past 15 years, as well as bats, lizards, grass snakes, adders, slow worms, newts, frogs, toads, badgers and rare insects.
Given yesterday's announcement by George Osborne, I will be following the planning process on this project very closely.
I'm guessing that there will now be a strong presumption in favour of development by the local planning authority. You might say that it was a very well timed application...
Conservation groups can complain about the potential environmental impacts of major schemes such as this as much as they like, but are their voices relevant any more? Is it time for conservation organisations to abandon the anti development fight and instead proactively engage with developers and planners to ensure that a desirable mitigation outcome is achieved?